When the opportunity presented itself, Mike Petke was ready! Former Red Bulls defender and assistant coach Mike Petke was named head coach of the New York Red Bulls, the club announced last Thursday. The 36-year-old Petke from Bohemia (Long Island) was not the club’s first choice, but most importantly, he was its last.
The Red Bulls management at one point had its sights set on hiring veteran coach Paulo Sousa, but the parties failed to reach a final agreement as the opening of the very important pre-season camp in Bradenton, Florida, drew near.
‘’I cannot believe in my mind that Red Bull needed to rush something, just because we opened training camp,’’ Petke said. ‘’I think my interview process began when they turned to me and asked me to take the reins in November. I think Andy saw me in action. I’m not the least bit slighted that they might have looked elsewhere before me.’’
Sousa had the coaching pedigree. The 42-year-old coached Queens Park Rangers and Swansea of the English Premier League and last had a very successful two years at Videoton of Hungary.
‘’From the minute he took over as the interim coach, Mike has been enthusiastic and organized,’’ Red Bulls Sporting Director Roxburgh said. ‘’Mike is very experienced in the ways of MLS. If we brought in a coach from Europe, that might not be the case. Mike knows the league and he’s passionate about this organization and team. All of those things add up to make him the appropriate choice.’’
Petke’s loyalty and knowledge of the organization and the players weighed heavily in the decision to hire him. ‘’If they decided to go with someone else, I never would have had a problem,’’ Petke said. ‘’But I believed that I was always more than ready. I’m more than capable. I always put this club ahead of me in everything I do.’’
The Red Bulls open the 2013 MLS season on Sunday, March 3 at Portland Timbers. Last season’s squad finished with a 16-9-9 record and was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round by DC United.
Trinidad soccer in jeopardy
According to a report in last Wednesday’s Trinidad and Tobago’s Guardian newspaper, the 13 World Cup players from the 2006 tournament who have still to be paid are in the process of taking legal action again, this time to file liquidation proceedings against the country’s football (soccer) federation, which would jeopardized the national team’s appearance in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament this summer.
Former Trinidad and Tobago national defender Brent Sancho, one of the 13 players, met with recently elected Federation President Tim Kee and told him that the players will go ahead with the planned action despite their discussions in the meeting.
“We are not going to stop any of the proceedings we have started, or are in the process of starting,” a solemn Sancho declared. “We have been down this road before. As soon as we stopped the process, the charges of contempt with (former TTFF secretary Richard) Groden or (ex-president Oliver) Camps (and other matters in the past), those talks stopped.”
Sancho, saying that “it is not the players’ wish to dissolve T&T football,” also reiterated that the Sports Dispute Resolution Panel (SDRP) in London awarded the players 50 percent of the earnings from the 2006 World Cup, and the Trinidad and Tobago High Court awarded them close to $12 million.